UCCE Humboldt - Del Norte Counties
University of California
UCCE Humboldt - Del Norte Counties


For background information and additional context, see our Tree Mortality and Fire page.

Girdling is a less common cause of tree mortality, but it is used by forest managers to target specific trees for creation of snag habitat or to reduce inter-tree competition. For example, girdling is being increasingly used for oak woodland restoration in the North Coast, as it offers a cost-effective way to kill conifers that have encroached upon and/or pierced through the crowns of deciduous oaks. In scenarios where the conifer and oak crowns are intermingled, girdling offers a safer option than conifer felling, which can result in damage to the oak tree and hazards to the feller. Girdling typically targets individual trees (rather than an entire stand), and though it may increase the likelihood of those individual trees torching in a fire (especially in the near term, while the dry needles are still attached), overall fire risk is not likely to increase because of scattered girdled trees.

Girdled fir

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